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Lab Safety

Recognize, Assess, Minimize, and Prepare for Lab Hazards

 Photo of a hand in a lab environment

There are a variety of hazards that may be found in a laboratory. Know the hazards of the materials you will work with. Read lab safety and experiment procedures, chemical SDS and agent biosafety summaries/practices before starting. Safety is everyone's responsibility. Don't allow yourself to become complacent over time. Consider others and maintain a clean working environment. Please email us at if you need assistance with resources or information on requirements.

Lab Safety Training

See the Laboratory Training Matrix for what is required to conduct work in a UHCL lab.

Training Enrollment

Students taking laboratory courses utilizing chemicals are enrolled at the beginning of every semester in Lab Safety Training within Canvas.  Late registering students must email for enrollment. 

A separate Advanced Lab Safety Training course is given to TA's, RA's, Graduate Independent Studies, and Lab Faculty and Staff. 

Additional lab specific trainings are available as modules within the Canvas Lab Safety Training Topics course.

Training Courses

These training presentations may be taken in Canvas.  See the Lab Training Matrix for a list of what training and frequency is required for your lab.


Humorous Videos

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE may be purchased at the bookstore. If purchased elsewhere, it must match the same protection as those chosen for sale at the bookstore. i.e., same length lab coat down legs and long sleeves, same size and design safety glasses and goggles with indirect vents and Z87 impact rating.

Lab Coats

Lab coats must be full length to the knees with long sleeves.  Dental coats or doctors coats do not provide sufficient coverage.  A blend of polyester and cotton is recommended to retain both liquid and flame retardant properties.  100% polyester lab coats shall not be used with flammable or pyrophoric materials.  100% cotton absorbs chemicals more easily and burns hotter in a fire if they do catch fire. 

Safety goggles

Safety goggles with indirect vents are required for use with liquids, as the risk of splash and drip into the eye is present.  Safety goggles should fit the face well to provide a seal.  Safety glasses may be used with dry materials, and are chosen to provide the most coverage.  

Eye Protection Demo


Gloves are not suitable for use with every chemical.  There are many types of glove materials.  Each type is compatible and incompatible with different materials.  Search by chemical for the recommended glove type, and then by the manufacturer for breakthrough time (length of time use) for that glove thickness.

Chemical Inventory

The UHCL Chemical Inventory is compiled within the OnSite Environmental Health & Safety Assistant (EHSA) software.  Chemical inventory is required by law annually, and serves several functions:

  1. To know what materials are present and assess their hazards
  2. A list of SDS needed, and repository to store SDS for reviewing hazards of chemicals used, hazard planning, training and first aid purposes
  3. Use for several agency reports (e.g., DEA, TCEQ, DSHS)
  4. Allow faculty to share or dispose of items.

EHSA Login

Chemical Safety

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Login with your UHCL credentials to Search for Safety Data Sheets (SDS) on the chemicals you will work with: 

Go to the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) page for additional information, and manufacturer's links to obtain SDS for your lab or chemical inventory.  

Hazard Communication

Program Information

Hazard Information 

Chemical Compatibility and Storage

High Hazard Materials

Incident Reporting 

All incidents and injuries on campus or University business must be reported within 24 hours to, with employee incidents to also.

If you witness an incident, a witness statement must be submitted. 

Go to the Incident Reporting Forms section on the EHS Forms page for fillable pdf forms for employees, students and visitors, and witnesses.  

Forms Page

In the same way accidents/incidents are investigated for actions to prevent recurrence, it is important to learn from near misses and eliminate unsafe conditions to prevent an accident from actually occurring. 

UHCL asks that all employees report and correct potential hazards concerns and near misses immediately to help prevent incidents and maintain a safe work environment.  Incidents that result in damage to equipment must be reported within 24 hours.  Submit these reports to 

(Heinrich & Bird accident theory model illustration)(Accident theory model illustration by Heinrich & Bird)

Environmental Health and Safety Assistant (EHSA) Software

UHCL uses this software to keep track of regulatory obligations, chemical inventories, SDS, etc. Login is the same as your UHCL user id and password. There is also a searchable database hub for SDS.

EHSA Login

Fume Hoods and Biosafety Cabinets

Labs may be equipped with chemical fume hood(s) and/or biological safety cabinets.  Here is information on safe work practices, how they work, and a decision matrix for selecting the right one.

Chemical Fume Hoods

Biological Safety Cabinets


See Biological Safety section for biological waste and autoclaving procedures.

Wastes are picked up at least twice a year from designated waste storage areas.  Lab size (<5 gal) waste containers should be brought to the designated waste storage area when full. Contact for questions or assistance.


  • Environmental, Health and Safety

    Phone: 281-283-2106

    North Office Annex I
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 362
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Office Hours:
    Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.